We made these last night for a late dinner/snack, and they were absolutely delicious. They were also made of zucchini, which was the quality I admired most at the time due to the current state of our garden. Many of you with gardens are nodding in understanding with that harrowed expression in your eyes; a few successful zucchini plants is enough to make you feel like you’re running some kind of daycare of long green vegetables that fill your kitchen with cries for attention. So I was glad for another quality recipe to have under my belt that helped me deal with the deluge of summer squash.
I’m not ready to label the zukes as “too much of a good thing” yet though, because I honestly think they’re pretty delicious and really versatile. This recipe is a good example: the discs of breaded zucchini took on the perfect texture and a mild and pleasing flavor after their time in the oven. The sauce was great as well; the caramelized onions came through strong, and the flavors were balanced and interesting when eaten with the zucchini fries.
One thing I’ll say is that while this is by no means the worst snack you can find from a nutrition standpoint, it ain’t health food either. There’s too much breading and cheese on the zucchini and too much mayo in the sauce for this to be a nutritious snack. You could make some helpful changes by using more (or all) yogurt in the sauce instead of the 1/3 cup, taking the cheese out of the breading, and making thicker slices of zucchini so the bread-to-vegetable ratio was less. Otherwise, I just see this as a great party snack or a nice treat for a movie night, which is how we used it.
Original zucchini sticks recipe here. I used circles instead of sticks so we had more bites, and I didn’t have panko so I used regular bread crumbs. I also added some chipotle paste to the dipping sauce, because come on– that’s delicious.
Zucchini Fries with Roasted Onion Mayo Recipe
3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch chips
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan or similar Italian cheese (I used the classic “Italian Mix” blend)
1 tsp each paprika, oregano and parsley
1/2 tsp each black pepper, rosemary and thyme
1/4-1/2 cup flour, for dredging
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 2 eggs or something)
1 medium onion (sweet onion preferred), sliced
2 cloves garlic, roasted
1 tsp chipotle paste (optional, but awesome)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tb cider vinegar
2 tb honey
2/3 cup mayonnaise (homemade preferred)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (or regular if that’s all you have)
After you slice your zucchini, sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt and set on a baking rack or colander to drain some of their liquid. It’s good to give them at least 30 minutes; it makes a big difference. (Sorry for the dark pictures, it was evening and I try to enjoy the natural sunlight until I can hardly see anymore rather than turn on lights).
In the meantime, blend the bread crumbs, cheese, and herbs/spices in a food processor until they look like only breadcrumbs again.
Pat dry the zucchini slices, then dredge them all on both sides in the flour. Set aside again while you set up your breading station with the buttermilk (I mixed in some water) and the bread crumbs.
One by one, dip the zucchini slices in the buttermilk, then gently lay them on both sides in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure they get good coverage.
Lay them on a pan, OR, if you’re a kitchen genius (read: lazy) like me, put them on baking racks on a sheet pan. That way they’ll get hot air above and below evenly, and you won’t have to flip all these suckers halfway through the bake. Slide the pans into a 425°F oven for about 20 minutes or until the breading is browned in spots.
Meanwhile, make your awesome sauce. Slice your onions and saute them fairly aggressively in a little oil, until they’re browned and roasty. Dump in a food processor with the mustard, vinegar, chipotle, and honey, and process till finely blended. Add the yogurt and mayo and give it a few pulses, and voila! Delicious sauce. The original recipe notes that due to the original salting of the zucchini, it’s probably a good move to avoid salt in other parts of the dish, and I agree.
And there you have it! A great snack or appetizer, using an over-abundant vegetable, that doesn’t take an enormous amount of time or a deep fryer! Go try it and tell me what you think, I’ll be here making hundreds of loaves of zucchini bread or something.
Till next time, foodies!